Hoi an Travel Guide

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HOI AN

Not far away from Danang (30km) Hoi An town is small and peaceful, the kind of place where you may get stuck for a few days, whether it is intentionasl or not. Originally known as Faifo, this antique town is bordered on its southern side by the Thu Bon River, along which there's a number of small cafes. Despite the fact that it is now a tourist haven, the artistic atmosphere and local friendly people create an inviting environment.

Hoi An was an important port developed in 17th century and remained so for a long time. There used to be canals parallel to the streets, so merchandise could be loaded straight from the back of houses onto the boats. Hoi An’s continuance as a port lasted right up until the early years of the 20 century, when the river became silted up forcing the cargo ships to call at Da Nang instead. In the past Hoi An has been used by the Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and the large remaining Chinese community where all sorts of produce and wares were traded. Remnants of these past traders’ influences can still be seen lining the streets of Hoi An. There are nine different types of historical sites in Hoi An with an average age of 200 years.
They include private houses, family chapels, community halls, communal houses, temples, pagodas, bridges, wells and tombs. Many of these buildings have been maintained close to their original form, allowing you imagination to recreate a prosperous trading town. The houses are small and colorful with wooden doors and two round "wooden house's eyes" above, window shutters and ornamental furniture. A pleasant change from the iron bars and metal grates of other towns.

Hoi An is full of shops selling artwork, from lifelike memorial family portraits, to stylized images of Hoi An houses and streets. Next door to the art shops are places selling souvenir statues, ceramic plates, and ‘antique’ bowls. At the market place beside the river, you can pick up almost anything you want. Tourists are often being lured into the markets to buy silk and to have quality garments tailor made. You can have anything from dresses and trousers to shirts and hats made for a cheap price. Another noticeable quality of Hoi An is its relative silence. There are few cars and people do not feel the urge to use their horns every two seconds. The streets are filled with the hum of voices, motorbikes and the shuffling of thongs along the ground. Hoi An is small enough to get around on foot, and you will need a set of wheels if you are going to Cua Dai Beach, or on a day trip to the Marble Mountains or Danang

A relaxing activity around sunset is to hire a boat from the waterside by the market place. Many of the locals will wait on the river and offer you this service throughout the day and night.

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Hoi an was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1999 and is
now firmly on the tourist agenda. For some its' already too much of a
trap with its profusion of tailors' shops and art galleries and its
rapidly proliferating hotels, and the majority of visitors pause only
briefly, but it takes time to tune into the town's subtle charms,
which are as much about human encounters as ancient vestiges. At least
a day is needed to cover the central sights and sample some of Hoian's
mouthwatering specialty dishes, and then by most people is hooked.
It's easy to spend longer, taking day trips to the atmospheric Cham
ruins of My Son or some of the other sights closet to town, biking out
into the surrounding country or opting for a leisurely sampan ride on
the Thu Bon River. If possible, try to time your visit to coincide
with the recently inaugurated Full-Moon Festival on the fourteenth day
of the lunar calendar, when the town centre is closed to traffic and
traditional arts performances take place in the lantern-lit streets.

More information : www.hanoipeacetour.vn

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: www.Hanoipeacetour.vn

Contributors

August 19, 2008 change by hanoipeacetour (1 point)

July 12, 2007 change by hoangoh

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